Earlier this month, Central Command conducted an exercise that envisioned a
PA attack on Israeli units in the West Bank. The exercise was assigned to
the Army's Nahshon Battalion at the Command's training base in the southern
area of Lachish.
"This is a possible scenario, but we do not believe it will happen in
actuality," Mizrachi said.
Officials said the military has long warned of the transformation of the
PA security forces into a military. They cited Western plans for enhanced
training as well as PA procurement of armored vehicles, communications and
"We must be prepared for a situation in which the PA could turn into an
enemy," Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon, commander of Israeli forces in the West
Addressing a training session by Central Command, Alon said the PA could
suspend its cooperation with Israel, particularly in the area of
counter-insurgency. He envisioned the prospect whereby the PA would also
facilitate Hamas operations against Israel.
Senior officers told the seminar that Hamas and other insurgency groups
have increased operations in the West Bank in 2010. They cited the rise in
abduction attempts of Israelis over the last year.
"Last year we counted five unsuccessful attempted kidnappings, but this
year there has been an increase in these incidents," the intelligence
officer of Central Command, identified only as Col. Ronen, said. "Kidnapping
is one of the main goals of the terrorist organizations."
At this point, Central Command has deemed the PA a security partner.
Mizrachi said the PA has been working with Israel to block Hamas attacks.
"Today the security coordination enables us to thwart terrorism, and
that is what we need," Mizrachi said.
But officials said Palestinian insurgents in the West Bank were
increasing cooperation with Hamas operators in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon,
Jordan and Syria. They said this has enhanced Hamas operations, particularly
"The Palestinian leaders fear a Hamas takeover of the Judea and Samaria
[West Bank] region more than they fear us," Mizrachi said. "It is important
to remember that even after the next clash, both sides will remain here."